Wednesday 31 March 2010

Nature or Nurture?

Are Republican politicians and their supporters born bent or does belonging to the GOP turn them out that way? From the Washington Post:

[Recently disclosed] financial reports showed that the party used tens of thousands of donor dollars for luxe hotels, private jets and other questionable expenditures. [...]

Although it is not unusual for either party to spend money in tony settings to cater to wealthy donors, the Republican National Committee's latest filings captured widespread attention for one expenditure at a risqué nightclub: $1,946.25 for "meals" at
Voyeur in West Hollywood, which features topless dancers wearing horse bridles and other bondage gear while mimicking sex acts. [...]

An RNC investigation of the incident found that the Voyeur party was attended by a group of young Republicans who had been at an official party "Young Eagles" event at the Beverly Hills Hotel the same night, according to an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post. The Young Eagles is an RNC program to cultivate 30-to-40-year-olds as major future donors.

While it's hardly news that there's a chasm between what members of the Republican Party loudly proclaim with regard to Family Values©™ and what they actually do privately until photos surface in tabloids, it's interesting that they acknowledge these preferences and orientations within their donor recruitment campaigns.

Remember Nafta-gate?

James Fitz-Morris thinks Hillary sure does.

(A little refresher by way of Ian Brodie's -- Harpie's first of a long string of chiefs of staff -- wiki entry.)

And speaking of security and confidentiality, let's also remember those ReformaTory cabinet ministers who are to be trusted with sensitive information, whereas those evul Taliban-supporting Opposition MPs are not.

Here's Helena Guergis trying to score political points while endangering Opposition members' lives in Afghanistan.

Here's Maxime Bernier forgetting senstive NATO documents at his mobbed-up biker chick's pad.

And here's Lisa -- I'm So Sexy -- Raitt blaming her aide for leaving more sensitive documents in the ladies' loo.

Hillary Clinton remembers Nafta-gate, but will Canadian voters remember these incompetents when the time comes to vote their butts out?

Here at DJ!, we live in hope.

ReformaTory Minister Lectures Haiti about transparence and accountability.


Larry "Loose" Cannon deigned to patronize Haiti and other countries within hearing of his droning sanctimonious little lecture about transparence and accountability.

Rule of law will be the key to rebuilding an earthquake-devastated Haiti, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told an international donors conference Tuesday. "While Haiti has been weakened, it is not stateless," Cannon told the meeting of more than 100 countries at the UN headquarters in New York. "Strengthening governance and rule-of-law institutions, as well as facilitating decentralization, will be critical elements of a holistic and comprehensive reconstruction plan."

Cannon did not say in his remarks how much Canada will donate to earthquake reconstruction, pledging to make an announcement later.

Well, that explains why none of the money pledged by thousands of citizens, in support of infrastructure reconstruction, held in trust by Harper's Government (the condition for securing CIDA matching funds) has been given to Haitian organizations. Those of us who donated to the Red Cross and Médecins sans frontières provided swift humanitarian and medical support.

What's your next lecture, Larry? The legal obligations of governing parties to respect and uphold Parliamentary procedures?

While we're on the topic of Con Speaking Points, who knew that Canadian senators are now receiving them from Mark Steyn? It appears that a squad of ReformaTory Attack Parrots™© cloaked themselves in self-righteousness, in defense of US stand-up performer Ann Coulter's right to flout our laws regarding hate speech - and comparing her plight to that of the behaviour-challenged Guy Earle. Go read Dr Dawg to get accurate facts - which would be those that Harper's bullies distorted in the Upper Chamber.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Another sociopath rapist in the news.

Like Fernando Manuel Alves, Daniel Katsnelson - now known as Daniel Kaye - is a convicted rapist who has no remorse or understanding that the actions he undertook were crimes. As far as he was concerned, he was just having a good time during Frosh Week on the campus of York University, when he and a friend snuck into a residence, entered the rooms of female students and sexually assaulted them. His partner in crime pleaded guilty in a separate court appearance in 2008, a year after both were charged.

From this account, it appears that Kaye originally did not admit culpability until the victims testified and forensic evidence was entered into the record.

The Crown is asking for 10 years prison for Kaye, registration in the National Sex Offender Registry, and a DNA sample. His defense lawyer countered with only 3-5 years.

Here's hoping he doesn't get a slap on the wrist like Alves did. Unfortunately for Kaye, CCTV footage as well as his own "trophy" photographs were also entered as evidence against him.

And, as in the case of Alves, it does raise questions regarding prior incidents of Kaye having "a good time". Criminologists have studied the behaviours of men who are finally arrested, charged, found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm and sentenced to serve a prison sentence. In most cases, they are habitual offenders who have manipulated the system to evade criminal prosecution.

Motherhood Steve: Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Any discussions about maternal health should address issues of family planning and abortions, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Ms. Clinton made the comments during a news conference in Gatineau where G8 foreign ministers met this week.

Hard place:

The director of one of Canada's largest evangelical Christian lobby groups says Prime Minister Harper's decision to leave a door open for contraception aid in the plan could spark a backlash from a swath of social, fiscal, and church fundamentalists that numbers up to two or three million voters.
Looks good on him, doesn't it?

NEW: Added Photo Caption Contest:

We listen to our readers. Start your mental engines.

(deBeauxOs' contribution to this post)

More abortion laws! Lots more!

I can't keep up. The Merkin healthcare debate and its obsession with abortion has whipped up state legislatures all over the Excited States into frenzies of fetus fetishizing. Abortion! We need more laws on abortion!

And they're getting them. Lots more laws on abortion! Some of them quite nutty. (The people at RH Reality Check do a good job of keeping up with the fetus fetishizing lawmakers in the US.)

Where to start?

How about Georgia? You may remember that a billboard campaign there linked abortion to genocide. Yeah, yeah, you've heard that one before, but wait, the Georgia campaign specifically links abortion to black genocide.

Well, now they have a brand spanky new law enshrining that idiocy.
Last week, the Georgia Senate gave sanction to a bizarre, destructive and racially condescending conspiracy theory. By a 33-14 vote, it approved a bill that purports to outlaw the attempted genocide of black Americans through abortion.

Under the bill’s language, a health care provider could be convicted of a felony and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for performing an abortion “with the intent to prevent an unborn child from being born based upon the race, color, or gender of the unborn child or the race or color of either parent of that unborn child.”


Until approval of SB 529, the dumbest legislation to pass the House or Senate this year had been a bill to outlaw forced implantation of microchips in human beings, which also passed the Senate. However, while it may rival the genocide-by-abortion bill in terms of weirdness, the microchip bill was at least largely harmless.

The abortion bill, on the other hand, puts the state Senate on record as endorsing the claim that black Americans are being targeted for elimination by health care providers. That’s absurd and flat-out wrong.

In Nebraska, where you might recall they are trying to outlaw abortion because of the unfounded claim of fetal pain, they've come up with another doozy.

Before an abortion, women are to be screened for 'potential post-abortion problems'. Well, what's wrong with that, you wonder?

Because the 'problems' they are concerned with are claims that abortion drives women insane.
Greg Schleppenbach of the Nebraska Catholic Conference said the bill doesn't call for drastic changes and would simply put pre-abortion medical consultation in line with normal medical practices in which patients are advised of risks.

"We're just saying that that if the abortion industry acknowledges risk factors exist, isn't it reasonable to screen people for them?" Schleppenbach said.

An official with the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights said there was no connection between psychological problems and abortions.

The measure is in fact a drastic shift in abortion policy, added Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the center, and the real intent is to establish a "vague and unconstitutional barrier" to abortions by scaring doctors who might perform them. Goldberg, who tracks abortion laws across the country, said she'd never seen anything like the Nebraska bill.

"I think there's a serious chance it will make doctors wary of performing abortions because they just don't know if they're complying with the law," Goldberg said.

You wanna make women insane, say to them: 'Sorry, honey, I think having an abortion would drive you crazy, so, no, you won't be able to have one.'

Now, more mandatory ultrasound bullshit from Louisiana. What makes this one a little different is that it is being pushed by a Democratic woman.
Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, said the bill is designed to make a woman "think twice about having an abortion. This is such a serious decision that a woman makes, the process should be exhausted with all the medical information on the procedure" available, she said.

In the privacy-invadingest state in the union, Oklahoma, they're busy taking apart a previous anti-abortion bill that was deemed unconstitutional on the technicality that it dealt with more than one issue and turning it into four anti-abortion laws, including the privacy-invading part.
The information includes race, education level, miscarriages, induced abortions, method of abortion, reason for the abortion and method of payment.

While the woman's name would not be included, the info would be published. As critics point out, some counties in Oklahoma are so underpopulated, it would be a doddle for busy-bodies to figure out who the local slut is.

On to Missouri for another omnibus fetus fetishist bill, dealing with coerced abortion and another stunning bit of privacy invasion.
The bill would also require prosecutors to be informed when an individual under age 18 inquired about an abortion, whether or not the woman completes the procedure.

Ask a question about abortion and get reported??!!! (The specious 'reason' for this is that they want to identify cases of possible child sexual abuse.)

Barriers, lies, shame, intimidation -- all the usual weapons. It's been a grand few weeks in the Excited States for fetus fetishizers.

And a very bad time -- and future -- for American women.

But wait! There are some grown-ups down there. In Michigan, no less, Bart Stupak's state.
Legislation moving to the state Senate would require Michigan emergency rooms to provide emergency contraception to individuals who are sexual assaulted.

Four bills, originally part of a 15-bill initiative promoted by Planned Parenthood, passed the Michigan House last week and would extend access to contraception, said state Rep. Mark Meadows, D-East Lansing.

“These are reasonable and applicable methods and laws, which would help prevent unwanted pregnancies,” said Meadows, who sponsored a bill in the package that would require crisis pregnancy centers to tell patients they do not provide information about birth control or abortion.

The bills need to gain the support of the Republican-led Senate to become law.

Other bills that passed include a bill requiring the Michigan Department of Community Health to educate the public about emergency contraception and a bill requiring all school districts to teach “medically accurate sexual education.”

We shall see whether the state-level Stupaks get their knickers in knots and stop this too.

Monday 29 March 2010

Holy CRAP!

Nine members of a Michigan-based Christian militia group have been indicted on sedition and weapons charges in connection with an alleged plot to murder law enforcement officers in hopes of setting off an anti-government uprising.

In court filings unsealed Monday, the Justice Department accused the nine people of planning to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer, then plant improvised explosive devices of a type used by insurgents in Iraq to attack the funeral procession.

It sounds like these Christian fundamentalist terrorists were being watched and were arrested over the weekend because there was a unspecified 'action' planned for next month.

They call the group the 'Hutaree' which means 'Christer soldier' in Crazy.

There's already a brief Wiki entry for them -- there's a link to their website there.

They talk about waging war against the Antichrist and we know who these nutjobs think the Antichrist may be.

In case the point is not perfectly, terrifyingly clear, the Christian Science Monitor notes:
The Hutaree is one of 127 armed militias in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization in Montgomery, Ala., that tracks hate groups nationwide. That number has increased 200 percent since 2008, when there were 42, SPLC says.

There is “no question” the catalyst was President Obama’s election, says Heidi Beirich, the center’s director of research. A similar upswing took place after President Clinton’s election in 1993. Militias and the antigovernment groups that spawn them often become more active when the federal government turns more liberal.

Or more black.

Southern Poverty Law Center lists 512 'patriot groups' -- only 127 of which are deemed militias.

And this is the country that Stevie Peevie wants Canada to be more like.

Yo! Opposition! Oppose This!

When I was a teenager, my stepfather used to ask waggishly every weekend: 'What are you protesting this week?'

One of the things I protested -- successfully -- was the Spadina Expressway. Anybody with a functioning neuron could see plain as day what such expressways had done to Merkin cities.
Notable among the opposition was urban theorist Jane Jacobs, who moved to the Annex in 1969, fresh from a battle to stop the Lower Manhattan Expressway in New York City. Marshall McLuhan, too, was opposed to the expressway and said: "Toronto will commit suicide if it plunges the Spadina Expressway into its heart... our planners are 19th century men with a naive faith in an obsolete technology. In an age of software Metro planners treat people like hardware — they haven't the faintest interest in the values of neighbourhoods or community. Their failure to learn from the mistakes of American cities will be ours too."

(As a aside, dig this quote from CONSERVATIVE Premier Bill Davies: 'If we are building a transportation system to serve the automobile, the Spadina Expressway would be a good place to start. But if we are building a transportation system to serve people, the Spadina Expressway is a good place to stop.')

We stopped the idiocy that was Spadina but the ReformaTories are still pursuing FAILED Merkin ideologies.
Ottawa will spend more money on federal prisons in coming years – a rare exception to government-wide restraint and a sharp contrast to efforts by cash-strapped American states to save money through lower inmate populations.

New figures released this week show the budget for Corrections Canada is projected to rise 27 per cent from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to 2012-13, when it will reach $3.1-billion. More than 4,000 new positions will be created at correctional institutions and parole offices across the country, with estimates of a 25-per-cent increase in employees during the same period.

The spike in spending is clearly linked in a government report to the Conservatives’ suite of law-and-order crime bills, which legislate longer prison sentences for a range of offences and limit the opportunities for parole.

Yeah, the Stupid on Crime program.

Crime rates are falling. And mandatory minimum sentences do not deter crime.
Canada's overall crime rate declined by 15 per cent between 1998 and 2007, and the Crime Severity Index, which tracks the relative severity of a crime in comparison with other crimes, declined by 21 per cent. Experts appearing before both the House of Commons and Senate Justice committees testified that mandatory minimum sentences do not deter crime, and in the U.S. have led to skyrocketing incarceration rates. A 2001 report by the federal Justice Department reached the same conclusion.

Ah, but don't bother those ReformaTories with that facty-researchy stuff. Let's just go down that Merkin-style tough-on-crime path and then in a few decades, we'll get to follow them down that undo-the-tough-on-crime path.
In contrast, in the United States – where incarceration rates have risen by a startling 705 per cent over the last four decades – several states are now undoing measures that restrict access to parole and require longer incarceration periods, partly due to budget pressures created by the economic downturn.

As a result, the number of state prisoners in the U.S. dropped last year for the first time in nearly 40 years, according to a survey of detention data released this month by the Pew Center on the States. California has reduced the number of convicts returning to incarceration by changing parole violation rules, while Michigan has reduced its inmate population by 6,000 by waiving some measures requiring convicts to serve 100 per cent of their sentence in prison.

From the Pew link:
“The decline is happening for several reasons, but an important contributor is that states began to realize there are research-based ways they can cut their prison populations while continuing to protect public safety,” said Gelb. “In the past few years, several states have enacted reforms designed to get taxpayers a better return on their public safety dollars.”

Here's Vic Taews covering his ears and going 'lalalalala':
Mr. Toews told The Globe and Mail on Friday that he was not aware of developments in the United States, but defended the planned Correctional Service Canada budget increase.

“Security is obviously an important issue for this government and we’re moving on that file,” he said. “I’m not familiar with the American system. I know what is necessary in order to ensure that the Canadian public is safe and that prisoners are well treated.”

So, how are they going to pay for all this prison building?
They also hint that controversial cuts lie on the horizon. For instance, the documents project a 25-per-cent reduction of the overall budget at Environment Canada. That includes slicing the department’s budget for “climate change and clean air” from $242-million in 2010-2011 to $76-million in 2012-13.


A similar caution is included in the report from Agriculture Canada, which is projected to lose 42 per cent of its budget. The department’s report projects spending on “food safety and biosecurity” will drop from $154-million in 2010-2011 to $90-million in 2012-13.

And here's Stevie Peevie doing the ear-covering from that YouTube embarrassment:
“Since research has shown that mandatory minimum sentencing does not deter future crime, what makes you as the Prime Minister believe this is still an effective way of persecuting criminals?”

RT. HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Well, I think the view of the population of Canada on this issue is actually pretty clear, that when serious crimes are committed, people expect the penalties to match these crimes. And obviously, you know, for 40 years our criminal justice system was going in a very different direction. We were…you know, there are these arguments that told people somehow if you don’t punish criminals, that crime will go away. I never quite understood the philosophy, but I think people understand that that approach has not been effective. So we have been, since we’ve come into office, trying to make sure, trying to toughen up our laws and make sure that the crimes are appropriate. You know, for example we think that if people commit serious crimes, violent crimes, we don’t think it’s appropriate that they would serve their sentence at home, what’s called conditional sentences, effectively house arrest. We don’t think it’s…and we don’t think it’s appropriate that very serious or repeat crimes would not be subject to at least some kind of minimum penalty, minimum prison time. I mean, surely if a crime is serious enough, a murder charge, for example, there should be some prison time for a murder charge. So these are the kinds of changes we’ve been making over time. They’ve been very well supported by the Canadian public. I don’t want to say crime is out of control in this country, but we do know that there have been some very worrying growth areas, particularly if you look at the areas of guns, gangs and drugs, and this is a growth area, not just in Canada, but around the world. It’s an international phenomenon. But we do think it’s very important that the criminal justice system send a strong message that such behaviour is not acceptable, and that it be appropriately punished, and that those who engage in such behaviour understand what the likelihood of punishment actually is. Because what we do know about deterrence is it doesn’t work unless people are actually certain they’re going to get punished. But if you create a system where there’s always a loophole, and you can always get out of the punishment, or the punishment can always be downgraded or forgotten, then it’s clear, that kind of a system does not deter people.

PATRICK PICHETTE: Is not credible.

RT. HON. STEPHEN HARPER: Is not credible. It’s not credible. I think…I’m not an expert in this area, but I think the evidence suggests it isn’t the length of the punishment that matters; it’s the certainty of the punishment. And if there’s no certainty you’ll be punished, then no possible penalty will matter. So that’s why we think it’s important to actually have a minimum penalty for serious crimes.

Shorter: I'm not an expert but I'm going to ignore experts because the polls tell me my stupid fellow citizens want it. And I want a majority.

So here's the challenge to the Opposition. OPPOSE THIS.

I'll help. Here is former justice minister, Martin Cauchon, who served under Jean Chrétien:
Mr. Cauchon said it's often more difficult to explain good justice policy to voters, but said it's possible, it just takes some hard work. He pointed out that when he first started arguing in favour of same-sex marriage around the Cabinet table more than 60 per cent of Canadians were opposed.

"When you have a vision and you believe in this as I did you roll up your sleeves, you travel, you communicate to people," he said. "You work with your caucus and at the end of the day you succeed. And look at same sex marriage that was enacted about five years ago and today we don't even talk about it. Canadians society is on side; they have accepted it and they know today it's exactly where we had to go as a society."

The research is already done. So, roll up your sleeves, Dippers and Libs. Communicate this to the public.


Saturday 27 March 2010

CRUSH Goes Local, now with Paranoid Update

CRUSH, Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper, is gaining momentum. From its Facebook wall:

Remember CRUSHERS, we have 3 ads in play this weekend.
1. The Calgary Herald (Mr. Harper’s riding)
2. The KW Record (hitting two Catch 22 ridings at once, that of Peter Braid and Stephen Woodworth)
3. A locally funded initiative in the Comox Valley Echo News that targets the Catch 22 riding of John Duncan.

Thank you all for making this happen. Work is progressing on future ads.

CRUSH is the totally grassroots campaign to place ads focusing on Stevie's record and 'trustability'. Originally, the plan was to run huge ads nationally. There was munny enough only for a smallish ad in last Saturday's Star.

Going local is a good idea. We all know the state of newspapers. Apparently, local CRUSHers were able to negotiate some good rates. And people read their local papers. CRUSHers hope these ads will get them talking.

The CRUSH site has downloadable PDFs, tips, and, of course, a way to donate. CRUSH hopes to continue to raise munny to funnel to the local groups and when I get my MASSIVE tax refund, I'm going to send them some more.

What's that reference to Catch 22 ridings, you ask?

Here's one of its organizers explaining at Rabble:
The Catch 22 Harper Conservatives strategy is to target winnable ridings with weak Conservative incumbents, recruit volunteers and communicate with voters before the next election is called. The main premise is that an informed electorate will vote in their own interests, and not strictly in the interests of political parties, politicians and lobby groups. The strategy will benefit some opposition candidates from the NDP, Liberals and possibly the Bloc while remaining independent of them.

Here are the 22 targetted ridings. Are you in one? Near one?

Now, while we're on the subject of targetting, the US National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws is going to make sure that those Blue Dog Democrats who so royally screwed the healthcare reform dealie over abortion PAY.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, which endorsed Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-Mich.) primary challenger Wednesday, is eyeing other Democratic incumbents, too.

NARAL joined Planned Parenthood in backing former Charlevoix County Commissioner Connie Saltonstall in her weeks-old primary challenge to Stupak, a pro-life Democrat who inflamed party activists by holding out for abortion language in the recently passed healthcare bill.

But the group isn't done yet. Asked whether other Democrats who joined with Stupak or opposed the bill should be concerned, NARAL political director Elizabeth Shipp said, "Definitely."

I asked if NARAL was eyeing anyone specifically.

"Yes, but none that I'm ready to talk about yet," Shipp said.

I realize we don't have a primary system here, but man, it would be sweet to 'NARAL' these Harper Liberals:

Paul Szabo in Mississauga South

Dan McTeague in Pickering-Scarborough East

John McKay in Scarborough Guildwood.

Hmm, maybe my MASSIVE tax refund will stretch to funding NDP or Green opponents of these guys. Anybody know who might be running in these ridings?


CRUSH ADMIN NOTE: We have had bad news about the Calgary Herald. It appears from member feedback that the ad did not appear despite assurances that it would and, to add insult to injury, we have been charged twice for the ad. We have been attempting to contact the Calgary Herald all day but it will not be possible to speak with anyone in charge of this until Monday-we will keep you posted and rectify the situation as soon as possible.

Friday 26 March 2010

What Do (Third World) Women Want? Part 2

Let's do some more listening to what women in the Third World want.

In Burkina Faso, there is new commitment to improving obstetric care and family planning.
As many as six women die every day in the West African country Burkina Faso as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, and human rights group, Amnesty International, says it is the country's poor, rural women whose lives are most in danger.

Amnesty International issued a report last month that pointed to poverty and shortages of supplies and trained medical staff as well as corruption and gender discrimination as the underlying causes for high rates of maternal death in Burkina Faso.

A 2005 law gives Burkinabé women the right to choose how many children they will have and when they will have them, and government subsidies introduced in 2006 sharply reduced the cost of childbirth.

But Amnesty International found that many women do not know about their right to family planning and that poorly paid medical personnel continue to ask for informal payments with impunity.


The Burkinabé government also committed Friday to lifting financial barriers to family planning services, which Amnesty International says can save lives by preventing unwanted pregnancies, pregnancies that are too close together and unsafe, illegal abortions.

Wiki says it is 60% Muslim but calls it 'ethnically integrated, secular'. So, at least they don't have civil war and ethnic strife to deal with.

They're trying to raise the status of women there, but still need help.
Amnesty International has also encouraged international donors to continue their support of the Burkinabé government in ensuring the availability and accessibility of adequate reproductive care for women in Burkina Faso.

Now, let's go to Afghanistan where Motherhood Steve's government is more anti-choice than the mullahs.
Some mullahs in Afghanistan are distributing condoms. Others are quoting the Quran to encourage longer breaks between births. Health experts say contraception is starting to catch on in a country where one in eight women dies during pregnancy.

Afghanistan has one of the world's highest fertility rates, averaging more than six babies per woman despite years of war and a severe lack of medical care. Awareness of, and access to, contraceptives remains low among many couples, with UNICEF estimating 10 percent of women using some form of birth control.

But use of the pill, condoms and injected forms of birth control rose to 27 percent over eight months in three rural areas — up to half the woman in one area — once the benefits were explained one-on-one by health workers, according to the report published Monday in Bulletin, the World Health Organization's journal.

Canada's goal in Afghanistan is allll about the girls and women, right?

Just not the contraception, family planning, and access to safe abortion parts that saves women's lives, eh, Steve?

BONUS: Antonia Z has some choice (hee) words for Motherhood Steve's policy.

In the US, Tea Party Hatriots are setting the tone - and more.

Things are not looking very good south of the border. DJ! first reported on the Harris poll earlier this week. Now, a second survey published in Forbes confirms the first results - that the majority of Tea Party Hatriots, aka Teabaggers are willfully ignorant.

Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same. As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. [...]

In fact, 40% of Obama's stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800. According to the JCT, last year's $787 billion stimulus bill, enacted with no Republican support, reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and another $222 billion this year. [...]

No taxpayer anywhere in the country had his or her taxes increased as a consequence of Obama's policies.

Clearly, politicians such as Michele Bachman are either lying to their Tea Party followers or choosing to ignore the facts.

Also, from here:

These polls show more than a basic lack of understanding about the facts on the ground, the irrationality of the respondents leads one to get an overwhelming sense of foreboding—all I have to say is that if someone gets hurt the blame will rest squarely with the Republican Party members who have cheered on these opinions and the conservative media outlets that have provided the platform for vitriolic speech to thrive. I would never tell them what they can and cannot say, freedom of speech is a fundamental right that I cherish, but the responsibility for harm done in support of their rhetoric is undeniable.

While Republican officials, such as House Minority Leader John Boehner, have finally come out against the actual violence if not the rhetoric, it may prove a little too late. Especially since just last week he insinuated that Representative Driehuas "may be a dead man" if he voted for health care reform. Granted it could be argued that he was speaking metaphorically but considering the inability of the current conservative base to understand any type of nuance I am inclined to believe they would miss that it was a metaphor. But the truth is, once you’ve told your fans or constituents that Obamacare will bankrupt the nation and bring about the end of democracy, capitalism, liberty and grandma how else do you think they will react?

With foaming-at-the-mouth hate for anything or anyone that challenges their beliefs.

This will probably escalate. The Repulsicans provoking these hatriots may soon have blood on their hands. But you can expect they won't take responsibility for the violence they've been encouraging through their words and graphics, such as the crosshair targets that appeared on Sarah Palin's website and her urging that it's time to "re-load".

Linky goodness: As posted at CC, Dr Dawg and JJ, this open letter to conservatives covers it all, regarding the rapid, furious descent of rightwing zealots in the US.

Match Made in Attention-Whore Heaven

OctoMom and PETA.

No. Really.
Nadya Suleman, the US woman who became known as 'octomom' after giving birth to octuplets, is supporting a birth control campaign for animals.

Her lawyer said Ms Suleman, who is fighting to keep her house from foreclosure, agreed to allow People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals to put a sign in her front yard proclaiming, Don't Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter.

Peta said it offered Ms Suleman 5,000 US dollars and a month's supply of veggie burgers and hot dogs in exchange for placing the sign in front of her house in La Habra, California.

She's trying to ward off foreclosure on her $450,000 house.

And PETA is just being PETA.

Past DJ! thoughts on OctoMom here.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Another cruel hoop

Back we go to whacky South Carolina for this story of yet another niggling
hoop for abortion-seeking women to hop through.

A bill that would increase the mandatory wait time between a mandatory ultrasound and the desired procedure from one hour to twenty-four hours is advancing again. It had been stalled for a year.
Critics have said requiring two trips creates a burden, especially for poor, rural women who may have to take two days off work. Three clinics in South Carolina provide abortions.

Ah, but the fetus fetishists have come up with a solution and it's a doozy.
The Senate approved a tweaked version on Wednesday that expands where those qualifying ultrasounds can occur to crisis pregnancy centers statewide. . . . Supporters of the Senate change said women can more easily access the anti-abortion, religiously affiliated centers.

Because I'm betting there are waaaay more than three fake pregnancy centres in SC.

So, let's imagine a woman in rural South Carolina. She's had the 'oh shit' moment, thinks about it, and decides to terminate. She makes an appointment at one of the state's three clinics and is told she has to have an ultrasound 24 hours in advance. Before she can get into full rant mode about how stupid this is, the trained counsellor on the phone informs her that she can go to her handy Christo-Taliban-run fake clinic for it. If the counsellor is really well-trained, she or he will whip out a prepared list of fake clinics and direct her to the nearest one.

And now we direct you to an older post about the training of fake pregnancy clinic manipulators/counsellors.
Our task in greeting new clients was to determine, on a scale from 1-10, how "abortion vulnerable" the woman is. That is, is she considering abortion, or did she come here because she's already chosen life and wants help with the new baby?

Easy-peasy with this new law. An angry woman stomping in demanding: 'Is this the goddamn place where I can get a goddamn ultrasound before I get a goddamn abortion?' is probably a 10 on that scale.

Let's consider what happens next:
If a woman was deemed not abortion vulnerable at all, they were often given nothing more than an opportunity to volunteer at the CPC itself, on top of whatever real job they actually had. They were paid in diapers, wet wipes, formula, some second-hand clothing. Nothing substantial. Certainly no prenatal care or anything like that. The abortion vulnerable women, however, they were offered the lot. High chairs, cribs, brand new clothing, even financial assistance for prenatal and pediatric care in rare cases!

Remember, this woman must must endure whatever the fetus fetishists fling at her in order to get the ultrasound she needs. Gory fetus pr0n, glurgey sermons, unending gord-talk. And, of course, all the usual lies about abortion causing breast cancer, insanity, and a permanent rift with Gord.

Loads of fun!!!! For the fetus fetishists.

For the unwillingly pregnant woman? Not so much.

I continue to marvel at the creative cruelty of fetus fetishists.

BONUS TRACK: In checking to make sure the story hadn't changed from when I copied the link this morning, I found another report. I think the writer is a little confused.
The legislation, according to CBS, would have stretched the the wait time between an ultrasound and an abortion from one hour to one day. However, a compromise in the Senate will allow women to have an abortion at any crisis pregnancy center in the South Carolina the day after receiving an ultrasound.

2010 Templeton Prize

Francisco Ayala, an evolutionary geneticist, molecular biologist, and former Dominican priest, is the 2010 Templeton Prize winner. Worth $1.53 million, 'The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works'.

He's an interesting man.
To Ayala, there is no natural hostility between evolution and faith and the theory of evolution is more consistent with belief in a benevolent God than creationism or “intelligent design.” As he explains:
The point should be valid for those people of faith who believe in a personal God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent, as Christians, Muslims, and Jews do believe. The natural world abounds in catastrophes, disasters, imperfections, dysfunctions, suffering, and cruelty. Tsunamis and earthquakes bring destruction and death to hundreds of thousands of citizens; floods and droughts bring ruin to farmers. The human jaw is poorly designed; lions devour their prey; malaria parasites kill millions of humans every year and make 500 million people very sick; about 20 percent of all human pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion because of the flawed design of the human reproductive system*.

People of faith should not attribute all this misery, cruelty, and destruction to the specific design of the Creator. I rather see it as a consequence of the clumsy ways of nature and the evolutionary process./

(*Hmmm, it seems that Gord is history's most active abortionist.)

What Do (Third World) Women Want?

Anti-choice forces say Third World Women Don't Want Contraceptives, Expert Tells Canadian Politicians.

Well, let's listen to the those Third World women, shall we?

Uganda has run out of contraceptives.
She was 16 years when she had her first baby. In six years, she was a mother of four. Tired, she sought the help of a herbalist in vain. She was pregnant again before her little one was barely three months.

Desperate, she went to Mityana Health Centre III, but they had only pills. She could not take them because her husband did not approve of contraceptives. She was advised to use depo-povera - a type of contraceptive and was injected.

However, she discontinued the contraceptive after three months because of prolonged bleeding and frequent headaches. Now a mother of seven and probably still counting, her only hope lies in a permanent method, tubaligation, which her local facility cannot provide.

This is the story of Eseza Nabbanja, 37, wife to Dan Kaweesa of Myanzi subcounty in Mityana district. "I have been struggling to get a family planning method since 1997, long before anyone in this village knew about modern contraceptives.

My husband was against it because he wanted to have more children," Nabbanja says. She thinks the situation has improved because NGOs are educating locals about the benefits of family planning.

But the long-term contraceptives are rarely available at Mityana health centre. "You have to trek to Mityana Hospital which is about 25km away," she says.

In patriarchal societies, women resort to 'discreet' methods of contraception, like injectables and implants. Yet these are the types they are not getting.
A medical superintendent of a non-profit-making hospital with a family planning programme that serves more than 700 couples each month wrote to The New Vision about the plight.

He said for the last one year, the National Medical Stores (NMS) supplied the hospital with injections, oral contraceptive pills and implants. They also invested in staff who deliver family planning free of charge in hard-to-reach parts of the country.

Suddenly, NMS stopped supplying drugs to non-government health units.

The hospital was referred to the Joint Medical Stores (JMS), who said they do not stock contraceptives for religious reasons, thus the shortage.

"We purchased emergency supplies from PACE, but will have to pass their cost onto our patients," the source said.

Poor women with the highest need for family planning, cannot afford it.

A source from NMS who preferred anonymity says the drug body has run out of contraceptives.

One regional hospital 'has not had contraceptives for 10 months now'.

And while Tanzania has reduced its birth rate somewhat, it too is facing a country-wide shortage of contraceptives.

And these are news stories from just the last couple of days.

It may be that the situation will ease now that Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule, which denied US funding to any group that provided or even referred for abortion. And foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are helping too. Its website states:
Family planning saves lives.
One of the most cost-effective public health interventions available today is family planning. Voluntary family planning is a critical lifesaving intervention that can significantly improve the health of women and their families.

But Canada, once a beacon of sense and compassion, is now a laughing stock in the international community because of Motherhood Steve's Christo-Talibanny G8 maternal health thingy. And while he has walked back a bit from insisting that it was not atallatall about family planning, Third World women do want family planning. And they're not getting the contraceptives they want.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Pro-life Death Threats

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Vandalism and death threats.
Democratic lawmakers have received death threats and been the victims of vandalism because of their votes in favor of the health care bill, lawmakers and law enforcement officials said Wednesday, as the Congressional debate over the issue headed toward a bitter and divisive conclusion.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader, said at least 10 House members had raised concerns about their personal security since Sunday’s climactic vote, and Mr. Hoyer characterized the cases as serious.

At least two Congressional district offices were vandalized and Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a senior Democrat from New York, received a phone message threatening sniper attacks against lawmakers and their families.

Ms. Slaughter also reported that a brick was thrown through a window of her office in Niagara Falls, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, said Monday that her Tucson office was vandalized after the vote.

The Associated Press reported that the authorities in Virginia were investigating a cut propane line to an outdoor grill at the home of a brother of Representative Tom Perriello of Virginia, after the address was mistakenly listed on a Tea Party Web site as the residence of the congressman. Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan and a central figure in the measure’s abortion provisions, reported receiving threatening phone calls.

And more. Read the whole litany.

Merkins Are Nuts and/or Pig-Ignorant

From a preview of a poll to be released tomorrow (today?) in more detail:
67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.

The belief that Obama is a “domestic enemy” is widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come.

57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim.

45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president".

38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did".

Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

While the progressive blogs, like this one, understandably focus on the ReThuglican numbers, have a look again at the overall numbers.

40% of Americans believe Obama is a socialist!

32% think he's Muslim!!!

25% are Birthers!!!!!!!

14% say he may be the Antichrist!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got nuthin'.

Hate Speech: The Beat Goes On (with update).

CC has a number of good points in his post The unbearable vacuity of Ann Coulter.

As for the cancellation of Coulter's lecture at the U of O, I call bullshit. There was actually no physical threat, only heated, emotional outbursts from a crowd that had been whipped up to a frenzy by the inflamed publicity her entourage had stoked.

Coulter should have thanked the students protesting outside Marion Hall. Their performance has raised Coulter's profile in the US. Media networks that had stopped inviting her to their talk shows are likely swamping her agent with booking requests.

Yesterday I mentioned that Coulter's popularity at rightwing events had been eclipsed by Palin and Bachman.

Le Cirque de Coulter has left the city and its main event, a skankily-dressed, scrawny faux-blonde is laughing all the way to the bank.

Check out balbulican's blogpost. It has the money shot.

More here, including a choice quote from Coulter: "I think I’ll give my speech tomorrow night in a burka. That will protect me." Sorry, Ann. A popular stand-up comic who performs at Juste pour rire - Lise Dion - already works that corner.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Fucking Liberals

So there I was, having a quite pleasant day, happily anticipating the Liberal abortion gotcha -- backed by the NDP and the Bloc -- designed to force the TheoCons to show their true colours over family planning and women's rights.

Earlier, after an 'emergency' caucus meeting, the ReformaTories had come up with an absolutely brilliant counter to it -- the motion is 'anti-American'.

No. Really. They went with that. I was laffing my ass off all over the Intertoobz.

I was enjoying the witty comments at the various sites that reported the Cons' genius move.

Like this one from the Globe site:
I suppose its Anti semitic as well.

The Freaks were exercised too -- always fun to watch.

The CBC's Question of the Day was: Should access to safe abortion be part of a maternal health plan? The sane answer to that was doing very well indeed.

And, extra bonus! Kady was going to liveblog the latter part of the debate and the vote.

I mean, it was a no-brainer, done deal, all the Opposition would vote for it and the Cons would look like ijits. Poifect! Non-binding but at least Canada wouldn't look quite so stooooopid on the world stage.

Well. If you haven't heard yet, the MOTION WAS DEFEATED.

BY THE FUCKING HARPER LIBERALS, to wit, Dan McTeague, Paul Szabo, and John McKay, who voted with the TheoCons against family planning.

Yes, indeedy, in the 21st century, there are people who have the gall to call themselves Liberals and yet vote against their party in order to tell the wimmins -- yet again -- what we can do with our lady parts.

Two other Harper Liberals -- Albina Guarnieri and Gurbax Malhi -- abstained.

And here's Kady on the other Liberal no-shows:
Curiously absent from the Chamber, despite having been there just a few moments earlier: Derek Lee.

Other Liberal absences, some of whom, at least, were simply not in Ottawa and would almost certainly have supported the motion had they been around, from a list provided by the ever helpful PMO: Anita Neville, Gerard Kennedy, Andrew Kania, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Alan Tonks, Marlene Jennings, Joe Volpe, Lawrence MacAuley, Stephane Dion, Mario Silva (paired with B. Calkins), Jim Karygiannis.

Just when I was developing a smidge of respect for the Liberals. . .

Just when I was not quite so despairing of Opposition cooperation . . .

Well. That shows me, I guess. Women's rights, here as in the Excited States, are always negotiable. At least for Liberals.

Here is Sister Pale's take complete with a reminder of where that other great Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, was when another assault on women's rights was passing second reading. When the Kicking Abortion's Ass Bill was being voted on, Dion was absent, eating little pink hamburgers in celebration of -- are you ready for it? -- International Women's Day.

Ah well. As the Liberal boyos are saying today, 'no big diff'.

You look like absolute, complete idiots, Liberals. You couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery. And the Cons are crapping their pants laughing at you.

You deserve every snide snigger and gloating guffaw.

Maternal Health - for mothers.

CBC question of the day:

Should access to safe abortions be part of a maternal health plan?

Go vote.

Why does Coulter dress like a skank?

It's okay to look like a skank if the other part of your act is to trumpet your fundamentalist rightwing Christian creds, declaring that Jews need to be perfected.

That's how a performance artist like Ann Coulter can afford an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Palm Beach. Though she's probably not getting the big munnee - $250K per public appearance that Sarah Palin demands.

She could crank up her wardrobe by selecting this brassiere style, popular in Joe McCarthy's time.

Why is Coulter doing a lecture tour in Canada, anyway? Has her stand-up routine become passé in the US? Are Teabaggers Tea Party Patriots not offering her gigs?

It's ironic the US neocon palate for vile trash talk that Coulter cultivated has shifted even further right and left her in the dust, opting for the batshit crazy ranting of someone like Representative Michelle Bachman instead.

Oh, and go read what Dr Dawg says about Coulter and her supporters' success in spinning a mild letter from a university official into yet another purported censorship VS free speech confrontation. Is it kosher to mention Ezra Levant's involvement in this attention-mongering circus?

ADDED by fh: Cancelled skank.

Monday 22 March 2010

Pro-choice Payback Time

Katha Pollitt has an excellent point (emphasis mine).
If healthcare reform becomes law, you can thank prochoicers. In the end, forced to decide between sacrificing abortion coverage and voting down coverage of everything else for 30 million people, abortion-rights supporters took the hit. Prochoice representatives, who had vowed to vote against any bill that restricted access to abortion more than the infamous Hyde Amendment has already done, will have reversed themselves and voted for it. (Don't kid yourselves, the Senate bill is a major blow to abortion rights. As antichoice evangelical David Gushee told followers stuck on Stupak: "Accept victory while you can get it.") NARAL, Planned Parenthood and NOW stepped back. You can call prochoice leaders hypocritical or cowardly or feeble or excessively deferential to the president's agenda. But one thing you can't call them is selfishly obsessed with their own political purity. That would be the antichoicers--the Catholic bishops, Bart Stupak, Ben Nelson. They were the big evil babies who were willing to let millions suffer and 45,000 people die every year unless they got to deprive women of their reproductive rights.

She goes on to list some proposed or stalled legislation and programs in areas like pay equity, maternal health, reproductive health for poor people, and so on that the Obama administration could get to work on to pay back the prochoice forces who saved his butt.

If I were living in the Excited States, I'd be emailing Nancy Fucking Pelosi -- first female Speaker of the House -- hourly.

And, oh, boo-hoo, Big Evil Baby Stupak has been deemed a turncoat by the fetus fetishists and they are not going to give him the coveted *cough* Defender of Life award.

Healthcare Reform Blame Game

Oy. It's not over yet. As JJ says, heads are still exploding.
The sobbing, the whining, the shrieking, the out-of-control apocalyptic hysteria over the passage of a health care reform bill so conservative that Richard Nixon would have loved it is really something to behold.

Yeah, that is fun. But the blame game is even more fun.

So, who blew it?

The Catlicks?
I can talk about the Catholic Church and its profound failure yesterday.

It is not an understatement to say that the American Catholic Church lost the abortion wars for three decades, and only began to dig in and hold ground starting with the election of the extremely Protestant George W. Bush.

The ReThuglicans?
Conservatives and Republicans on Sunday suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.


Or take your pick.
John Boehner, Mitch McConnell: Republican leadership's roadblocks slowed reform but couldn't stop it.

Harry Reid: Lost time, and his Senate super-majority, in fruitless quest for a bipartisan bill.

Sarah Palin and the Tea Party crowd: "Death panel" scaremongers and town hall meeting mobs see worst fear a reality.

Fox News: Highest-rated cable news op was the big megaphone for health care foes.

In related news, some mook named Randy Neugebauer has fessed up to shouting 'Baby killer!' at Bart Stupak.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Texas puts out a statement:
Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support. In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase ‘it’s a baby killer’ in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself.

I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate.

His wiki page has already been updated.

More propaganda from Blob Blogging Wingnut.

SUZY ALL-CAPS comes to the defense of the Vatican Taliban. Nothing new there. As a co-blogger remarked:
BBW has glommed onto the notion that many of the accusations of sex abuse are false and slanderous [...] That is no surprise coming from HER, as HER default position is to side with power, authority and orthodoxy.
"Won't somebody think of the poor maligned priests?" is the angle SHE exploits, opinionating that the Catholic Church hushed up all those MASSIVE accusations against pedophile clergy because some of them could be "false memories" or malicious slanders.

Here's a fact for you, SAINTE-NITOUCHE. For decades forensic scientists and legal scholars have been studying the incidence of people reporting crimes that have not actually occurred. Regardless of the nature of the alleged infraction (theft, vandalism, sexual assault, etc.) or the motivation (insurances scam, vengeance, etc.) the percentage of false accusations to crimes that are founded remains constant, in the 4-5% range. But don't let that get in the way of YOUR spinning in defense of those 95-96% of complaints against Catholic clergy who DID abuse and assault millions of children over the centuries.
'This is why the Church dealt with these issues in secret, but people don't get that.'
Suffering inflicted upon children is not YOUR cause, is it? YOUR overweening focus is fixated on the zygotes, the embryos and the fetuses, right?

Blog Blogging Wingnut links to this glurge and propaganda piece, published in the guise of a news item. The conclusion to this work of fiction offers the following: "Of the thousands of cases that I alone have worked on, there is one theme that rings through them all: The priest will continue to say, "I don't want to lose my priesthood, I just want to be able to say the Mass!"

Oh really? Then why are most of the accused re-assigned to pastoral work, despite warnings from medical authorities who treated them for their mental afflictions and pedophile urges?

Un grand merci to brebis noire who tipped us off to this despicable propaganda.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Ratzy vs. the Nuns, continued

Well, the loony Merkin congresscritters are finally voting on death panel healthcare reform legislation. As someone who regularly searches 'abortion' at Google News, I am sick to death (panels) of the thousands and thousands of headlines shrieeeeking about whether the bill would allow federal funding of abortion, about daily Catlick hissy fits, about whether this or that politician can accept the 'abortion language'.

As a measure of just how nuts this story is, dig this from Maureen Dowd:
The nuns have it right

WASHINGTON - Angry nuns have been calling Congressman Bart Stupak's office to complain about his dismissive comments on their bravura decision to make a literal Hail Mary pass, break with Catholic bishops and endorse the health care bill.

As a Catholic schoolboy, the Michigan Democrat had his share of nuns who rapped his knuckles when he misbehaved, like the time he crashed a kickball through the school window.

So, of course, he's having some acid flashbacks, but he told me, "They're not printable even in The New York Times."

Like that other troublemaking Bart (Simpson), Stupak, who wants to kill the health care bill because he thinks the language on abortion funding is not restrictive enough, should have to write on the blackboard a hundred times: "I will listen closely when the nuns tell me I am wrong. I will not be an obstinate lawmaker."

Stupak got in hot holy water when he told Fox News, "When I'm drafting right-to-life language, I don't call up nuns." He followed that with more scorn for sisters, telling Chris Matthews that the nuns were not influential because they rarely try to influence - which makes no sense - and because "they're not the recognized spokesperson for the Catholic Church." He listens to the bishops, he said, and anti-abortion groups.

We might have to bang Bart's head into a blackboard a few times before he realizes that in a moral tug-of-war between the sisters and the bishops, you have to go with the gals.

The nuns are giving the Democrats cover. As Bob Casey, an abortion opponent who helped negotiate the abortion language in the Senate bill, observed, quoting Scripture: "They care for 'the least, the last and the lost.' And they know health care."

On Friday, Tim Ryan, an anti-abortion Democrat from Ohio, took to the House floor to say he had been influenced by the nuns to vote for the bill.

"You say this is pro-abortion," he said to Republicans, and yet "you have 59,000 Catholic nuns from across the country endorsing this bill, 600 Catholic hospitals, 1,400 Catholic nursing homes endorsing this bill."

Go read the whole thing.

Here's how she ends it (link mine):
Because Benedict has addressed the sex scandal belatedly and sparsely, stonewalling on the skeleton in his German closet, he has lost authority to speak about the issue consuming his church. The only internal investigation he has undertaken with alacrity, for heaven's sake, is the one bullying American nuns.

You go, grrrls.

Here is Dowd's terrific piece on Ratzy's investigation of the nuns.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Ride That Horsey!

Yee haw!
Liberals are hoping to pin down Prime Minister Stephen Harper over where he stands on abortion in his G8 maternal-health initiative for the Third World.

The Opposition is to introduce a motion in the House of Commons on Tuesday demanding that the plan cover a "full range" of family-planning options, which would include contraception and abortion.

The Conservative government has been unclear about whether the plan will fund such options.

The motion says funding all options would be consistent with the policy of previous governments -- both Conservative and Liberal -- and with the approach approved by all G8 countries, including Canada, just last year.

The motion should pass easily with the support of all three opposition parties.

It could put the Conservatives in an awkward spot, forcing them to clarify the issue and potentially alienate one faction or another within the party.

Some readers may recall that Iggy and I have a troubled relationship, though I did applaud him when he first threw down the abortion gauntlet. But I really think this issue has legs.

From the beginning Motherhood Steve has been flipping and flopping on his G8 maternal health initiative.

The trick is to get the language -- oh noes! 'abortion language!' -- just right. Appease the base -- no contraception, no family planning. But repeating ad nauseum 'we will not reopen the abortion debate' -- for everyone else.

It's not working very well.

LifeShite has this headline: 'PM Harper "Caves": "Not Closing the Door" on Contraception in G8 Maternal Health Push'.
"As we have been saying all along, we are not closing the door on any options that will save the lives of mothers and children, including contraception," Oda said in response to a question from Bob Rae. "And as we have been saying all along, we are not opening the abortion debate."

Layton pressed the Prime Minister further, asking a question that he called "extremely important" and "extremely clear": "Does the Prime Minister agree with the broad sweep of opinion that is extremely clear, that contraception saves lives?"

Harper avoided the question, insisting that he had already answered it, and attempted to raise a different issue.
. . .

Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, called the Prime Minister's comments "a giant step backwards and a disappointment."

"We're disappointed that the Conservative government has taken a step backwards in accepting contraception when they were very clear that their aim was to provide good maternal care," she commented. "All Canadians were supportive of providing good maternal health care, safe water, medicines and so on, so why bring in divisive items such as contraception and abortion?"

Douglas concluded, "The Prime Minister has caved in to pressure from pro-abortion activists to allow for contraception in the G8 health plan. Hopefully he will not cave on abortion too."

Ooooo, the dread word -- 'caved'.

A CBC poll asked if contraception should be part of the initiative. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Canadians said YES (90% to 9%).

This issue resonates with normal people. This issue clearly demonstrates Stevie Peevie's problem with his base. He's hog-tied.

But don't listen to me. Listen to my Facebook friend Connie Fournier at the Freaks:
Ignatieff is playing this perfectly. He knows that Harper will run like a sissy from this issue, and it will cause another fracture in the conservative base.

When Harper promised to never let anyone discuss the issue of abortion, he showed the Liberals his Achille's heel. He proves it every election cycle when he makes some lame-assed pro-abortion* comment in the middle of the campaign and his poll numbers immediately take a dive.

As long as Harper lets them kick this sand in his face, they are going to keep doing it.

Kick that sand! Ride that horsey!

*Actually, I think it should be 'when he makes any reference to abortion', his poll numbers dive.

Spouse of US Supreme Court judge starts her own teabagging lobby group.

And just guess which judge that might be.

Bingo. Virginia Thomas, who stood by her man in spite of his history of sexually harassing female colleagues is
launching her own rightwing lobby group.

As Virginia Thomas tells it in her soft-spoken, Midwestern cadence, the story of her involvement in the "tea party" movement is the tale of an average citizen in action.

"I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you," she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington. [...]

In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative "core principles," she said.

The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources - including corporations - as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.

"I adore all the new citizen patriots who are rising up across this country," Thomas, who goes by Ginni, said on the panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I have felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great."

Ginni may have also felt the call of the
buckets of munnee to be made from the Tea Party Patriots Nation.

Friday 19 March 2010

Humpty Dumpty North

(No, not the Puffster.)

Not to be outdone by the myriad microscopic citizens' rights efforts in the Excited States -- most recent update
here -- our fetus fetishists have come up with their very own microscopic Canadian citizens' rights movement.

The site, like its Merkin cousins, hits the all the absolutely-equivalent-to-fetuses historical discrimination crimes -- slavery, treatment of Aboriginal people, the Holocaust, and (somebody did some extra research, not just the usual copy-and-paste job) the Persons Case.

There's a 'Science' page, a compilation of quotes from authoritative-sounding books, asserting over and over, yes, a fertilized human egg is unequivocally, well, human.

But they have to take a trip on the Waaaaay-Back Machine to come up with terminology to their liking -- calling an embryo, zygote, or fetus a 'baby'.
"The unborn baby is alive from the first moment of conception of a single egg and a single sperm." N.Z. Health Department: Pamphlet No 83 Your New Baby (Government Printer) 1969.

There. The government of New Zealand says so! Or said so, forty years ago. In a pamphlet aimed at happy, willing parents.

There's a petition to sign. And presumably funds to raise.

In related news, the doughheads indefatigable campaigners in Colorado have collected enough signatures to try again to get a ballot initiative on 'egg-as-person'. Because last time it was on the ballot, it was really really close -- the no-freaking-way votes outnumbered the deluded votes by a 3 to 1 margin.

I just lurve watching them waste their time, energy, and money on such idiocy.

No Prison for Terrorist?

Last June, shortly after the assassination of Dr George Tiller, another late-term abortion doctor, Dr Warren Hern, received a telephone death threat. In fact, the caller said that two Vietnam vets were on their way right now to kill him and his family. The FBI was called in and Dr Hern and his family got federal Marshall Service protection.

The caller wasn't very clever and was identified and charged fairly quickly.

Satisfyingly, given recent events, he was also charged with a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act, a federal crime which has penalties of a prison sentence of up to six years and a fine of up to $350,000.

Today we learn -- and jeez, will I be glad when the fucking healthcare debate in the Excited States is over and I don't have to plow through pages and pages of headlines shrieking 'Abortion will be covered!' alternating with 'Abortion will not be covered!' -- that the accused, 70-year-old Donald Hertz, has reached a plea bargain that may keep him out of prison.

Stay tuned. (It was good to see that comments at that news site were not too accepting of the idea.)

BONUS: In googling around I found that Dr Hern is the subject/object of a prayer assault from Spiritual Adoption of Enemies of Life. Their list of prayees includes Cher, Hilary Clinton, nurses, and researchers. (It's a tad out of date, though; it notes that Clinton is contemplating a run for President.)

What was Cher's crime against Life, I wondered, and hit the link. Sadly, we'll never know. 'Page not found'. The same for Clinton. I got bored.

Sarah Palin VS Reality.

This is one of those 'Whatever shall I blog about today?' moment. But I believe that I shall eschew Mags Wente's strategy, described by balbulican in the combox after this blogpost.

The time-honoured tradition here at DJ! when drawing a blank is to ask oneself: WWSD? So I searched her name on Google News.

There's a lot of material to mine there. Where to start? Palin asking $1 million per episode of reality series? Or about this, from here:

Sarah Palin, a woman who's never allowed a deep thought to get between her brain and her tongue, recently remarked how her family in Alaska "used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse... and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."

Yeah, how ironic. The former governor of Alaska holds out our healthcare system as a nightmare example of the Nanny State morphing into the Big Bad Welfare Wolf. Palin's Tea Party fan base has slammed the Obama administration for its efforts to reform the broken U.S. health care system.

Goaded over the past two years by the Fox News network and rage radio shock-jocks like Rush Limbaugh, they have gathered across the U.S. for oxymoronic protests against federal plans to "socialize" Medicare--a government-run program kept afloat by taxpayer dollars. The tentative
inclusion of a rider in the health care reform bill, which would require at least one meeting between doctors and family to address the wishes of a loved one in terminal condition, was somehow transformed into "death panels" intent on heaving grandma into a casket as fast as possible.

But back to the notion of a reality show scripted and based upon Sa-wah's concept of Alaska.


Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too.